(Some of) Today’s NBA Best Stories

Today’s BI is abbreviated because it is a travel day for us.  We will play catch-up through the weekend.

Dave Joerger has Memphis off to franchise-best start with improved offense (from Teresa Walker, AP):

Read it here:  http://www.startribune.com/sports/wolves/286242381.html

Why This Time Could Be Different for Memphis Grizzlies (from Jim Cavan, Bleacher Report):

Read it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2303571-why-this-time-could-be-different-for-memphis-grizzlies

Brendan Haywood Q & A (from Warren Shaw, dimemag.com):

Read it here: http://dimemag.com/2014/12/dime-qa-brendan-haywood-new-role-cavs-unique-contract/

 Additional Player Updates:

Nicolas Batum http://basketball.realgm.com/article/235907/How-Nicolas-Batum-Continues-Evolution-Of-His-Game-Mindset

Joe Alexander http://upsidemotor.com/2014/12/18/milwaukee-bucks-santa-cruz-warriors-d-league-joe-alexander-injuries-bust/

Jeff Withey http://www.thebirdwrites.com/2014/12/18/7413261/freewithey

Andre Drummondhttp://www.detroitbadboys.com/2014/12/18/7415487/is-the-andre-drummond-we-all-fell-in-love-with-finally-back

Dwyane Wadehttp://www.hothothoops.com/2014/12/18/7415125/dwyane-wade-answering-critics-with-strong-play-miami-heat-2014

Jonas Jerebko: http://www.mlive.com/pistons/index.ssf/2014/12/detroit_pistons_jonas_jerebko_8.html

Today’s Top NBA Stories

Q&A: Jerry West on how the Warriors Got Here and Where They Are Going:  (from Adam Lauridsen, San Jose Mercury News):

Read it here:  http://blogs.mercurynews.com/warriors/2014/12/03/jerry-west-on-the-giant-steps-that-brought-the-warriors-here-and-where-theyre-going-next/

How the Clippers’ Chris Paul-Blake Griffin Pick-and-Roll Has Dominated the NBA (from Jared Zwerling, Bleacher report):

Read and view it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2240055-how-the-clippers-chris-paul-blake-griffin-pick-and-roll-has-dominated-the-nba

Detroit Pistons are ‘messed up’ and troubled by ‘dilemmas,’ SVG says, after loss to Lakers  (from David Mayo, mlive.com):

Read it here: http://www.mlive.com/pistons/index.ssf/2014/12/detroit_pistons_are_messed_up.html

Brad Stevens Calls on Celtics To Become More Physical  (from Marc D’Amico, nba.com/celtics):

Read it here: http://www.nba.com/celtics/news/sidebar/post-120214-stevens-calls-celtics-become-more-physical

How Donatas Motiejunas Became An Offensive Weapon (from Adam Spolane, CBSHouston):

Read and view it here: http://houston.cbslocal.com/2014/12/02/how-donatas-montiejunas-became-an-offensive-weapon/

Is Donatas Motiejunas ready to take the next step? (from Matt Rothstein, thedreamshake.com):

Read and view it here:  http://www.thedreamshake.com/2014/12/2/7307529/donatas-motiejunas-houston-rockets

Can The Washington Wizards Maintain Their Stingy Defense? (from Michael Pina, Bball breakdown):

Read and view it here:  http://bballbreakdown.com/2014/12/02/can-the-washington-wizards-maintain-their-stingy-defense/

Jeff Teague’s Offensive Emergence (from Ben Dowsett, BBall Breakdown):

Read and view it here: http://bballbreakdown.com/2014/12/02/keeping-the-drive-alive-jeff-teagues-offensive-emergence

Spurs Veterans Set Up Young Teammates to Succeed (from Jessica Camerato, Basketball Insiders):

Read it here: http://www.basketballinsiders.com/spurs-veterans-help-win-by-helping-younger-teammates/

More Player Updates:

Aaron Brooks: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/12/02/4004938/bulls-aaron-brooks-having-a-ball.html

Mike Miller: http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2014/12/mike_miller_plays_well_in_win.html

Today’s Top NBA Stories

– Rest remains a challenge for NBA coaches, players (from Associated Press):

” It can be a guessing game who Popovich plays; he has set the bar when it comes to resting his veterans.

Many other coaches would like to follow his lead, but even for Popovich trying to manage players’ minutes and keep them fresh through the grind of the NBA’s 82-game regular season is a tricky task.

“It’s called the seat-of-my-pants science,” Popovich quipped.”

Read it here:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/rest-remains-a-challenge-for-nba-coaches-players/2014/11/17/7cbd2fda-6e35-11e4-a2c2-478179fd0489_story.html

– The Mutually Beneficial Pairing of Rudy Gay and the Kings (from Zach Lowe, Grantland.com):

Read it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-mutually-beneficial-pairing-of-rudy-gay-and-the-kings/

– Why Rudy Gay and the Kings are perfect for each other (from Tom Ziller, SBNation):

” The deal to keep Gay in Sacramento will allow the scorer to reach free agency at a better moment and ends some uncertainty for the Kings.”

Read it here:  http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/11/17/7233377/rudy-gay-kings-contract-explainer-free-agency

And from James Ham at Cowbell Kingdom: http://cowbellkingdom.com/why-rudy-gay-and-the-sacramento-kings-make-sense/

– Reggie Jackson’s final shot against Rockets: designed hero-ball or rogue heat check? (from Kevin Yeung, welcometoloudcity.com):

” After forcing a stop on a James Harden isolation late in the game last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder were only down three with 16.4 seconds left. They had a very real chance to tie the score and force an overtime against the (previously) 8-1 Houston Rockets.

But the resulting play out of the timeout was a complete dud. In the official play-by-play, it shows up as “Reggie Jackson misses 28-foot three-pointer,” coming only six seconds after the timeout. In reality, the distance was the least of Jackson’s problems. The shot he took was a simple pull-up jumper, thrown up with Dwight Howard closely contesting.”

Read and view it here:  http://www.welcometoloudcity.com/2014/11/17/7233319/reggie-jackson-thunder-houston-rockets-clutch

– Secrets to the Memphis Grizzlies’ Hot Start (from Tom Firme, Bleacher Report):

Read it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2269442-have-the-memphis-grizzlies-become-elite-in-the-western-conference

– Mike Conley Q &A (from Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated):

Read it here: http://www.si.com/nba/2014/11/14/anthony-davis-pelicans-rajon-rondo-trade-mike-conley-grizzlies

– Cavaliers’ Title Hopes Depend on Defensive Effort That Has Been Clearly Lacking (from Ethan Skolnick, Bleacher Report):

” How do you create a decent defensive team when your roster is short on guys known for their defensive disposition?

“Well, you got to teach,” Cavaliers coach David Blatt said. “You have to raise the level of expectation, and the level of accountability, and you have to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Sometimes if you’re not blessed with great individual defenders, your principles have to be that much stronger, and your helps and your court recognition have to be that much better. And that’s why it’s taken us longer in that area of the game than on the offensive end…. Defense, like offense, in a team sport, in the dynamic of a basketball game, is very much made up of team concept, team principles and the willingness of everyone to buy into that and to be accountable for that. And that’s what we’re working on.”

Read it here:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2270005-cavaliers-title-hopes-depend-on-defensive-effort-that-has-been-clearly-lacking

– Lakers threaten to go from bad to toxic (from Baxter Holmes, ESPNLosAngeles):

” They were never supposed to have much of a season — just one, long, loss-filled trudge to the lottery. But just 10 games in, it’s starting to turn toxic.

They were never expected to have much of a team — just an aging superstar and a patchwork crew. But just a few weeks in, it’s starting to unravel at the seams.

The Los Angeles Lakers‘ defense is on pace to be one of the worst in history. Kobe Bryant is on pace to miss shots at a faster rate than anyone in history. And the team is on track to have its worst season in franchise history. ”

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles-lakers/post/_/id/40410/lakers-threaten-to-go-from-bad-to-toxic

– Stevens implores C’s to ‘do your job’ (from Chris Forsberg, ESPN):

“One of the things I really tried to emphasize today was, regardless of circumstance, we all have a job to do,” Stevens said. “And the hardest thing is to focus on that job without emotion. Things are going really well, you’ve got to focus on the task without emotion. If things are going really poorly and it feels like the weight of the world is falling on your shoulders, focus on what your job is and do it well. That’s easier said than done, but that’s our emphasis as we move forward. It should be something that we’re doing anyway.”

Read it here:  http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/celtics/post/_/id/4715745/stevens-implores-cs-to-do-your-job

– CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard Share Defensive Journey (from Willy Raedy, blazersedge.com):

” After very different NBA beginnings, CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard went into this summer with the same focus – improving their pick and roll defense.”

Read and view it here:  http://www.blazersedge.com/2014/11/17/7224479/portland-trail-blazers-pick-roll-cj-mccollum-damian-lillard-defense

– David Aldridge of NBA.com on Steve Kerr and the Warriors, Superstars Resting and a Joe Johnson Q & A:  http://www.nba.com/2014/news/features/david_aldridge/11/17/morning-tip-steve-kerr-adjusting-to-coaching-golden-state-warriors-role-of-injuries-for-derrick-rose-and-superstars-q-and-a-with-joe-johnson/index.html

– Bob Delaney applies stress strategies learned in military (from Steve Aschburner, NBA.com):

” Staying strong emotionally plays a key role for NBA referees”

Read it here: http://www.nba.com/2014/news/features/steve_aschburner/11/11/delaney-applies-stress-strategies-from-military/index.html

More player updates:

– Shawn Marion:  http://www.news-herald.com/sports/20141116/cleveland-cavaliers-shawn-marion-leads-by-example-on-defense

– Will Cherry: http://www.cantonrep.com/article/20141116/Sports/141119428#ixzz3JKcSXn8w

– Jared Sullinger:  http://www.csnne.com/boston-celtics/sullinger-looking-put-ball-floor-more

– Robert Covington: http://www.nba.com/sixers/news/141117-covington-story

– Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo:  http://www.brewhoop.com/2014/11/17/7232233/progress-jabari-parker-giannis-antetokounmpo

– Joe Harris:  http://www.streakingthelawn.com/virginia-cavaliers-basketball/2014/11/17/7229509/joe-harris-impressive-start-highlights-stats-cavaliers-uva-video

– Shawne Williams: http://www.hothothoops.com/2014/11/17/7233511/shawne-williams-miami-heat-hot-shooting-starting-reborn-nba-shot-chart-stats-three-pointers

– Nate Wolters: http://www.nba.com/bucks/features/mb-steady-rollin-wolters-answers-opportunitys-knock

– Aaron Gordon: http://www.orlandopinstripedpost.com/videos/2014/11/17/7232235/aaron-gordon-injury-broken-foot-defense-analysis-orlando-magic-2015

– Matt Barnes: http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/clippers/post/_/id/6909/matt-barnes-finds-way-to-make-adjustments

– Tony Wroten: http://bballbreakdown.com/2014/11/15/is-tony-wrotens-hot-start-sustainable-or-an-early-season-fluke/

Today’s Best NBA Stories

– Can the Pelicans become a top defensive team? (from Matty Robinson, thebirdwrites.com):

Read and view it here: http://www.thebirdwrites.com/2014/11/16/7226937/can-the-pelicans-become-a-top-defensive-team

– Where the Memphis Grizzlies stand on the season (from Chip Williams Jr, grizzlybearblues.com):

Read it here: http://www.grizzlybearblues.com/2014/11/16/7227829/memphis-grizzlies-detroit-pistons-full-recap

– Lack of defensive cohesion has Heat hot, bothered (from Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com):

“We had too many breakdowns in our coverages. I think we guarded the pick-and-roll OK, for the most part. But after they kicked it out, our rotations, we weren’t there. It’s like we ran out of guys,” Chris Bosh said of the Heat’s defense, as he turned his attention to Sunday’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks at AmericanAirlines Arena.

“You have to be one step ahead. But I guess that will come with time. I guess this is a time where we just have to work on our patience and just really work the process, and eventually we’ll get over the hump.”

Read it here: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/miami-heat/sfl-miami-heat-chris-bosh-s111514-story.html

The evolution of Meyers Leonard (from Jason Quick, oregonlive.com):

” He was, Meyers Leonard admits, like a deer in the headlights his first two NBA seasons.

He was young. He was unsure of himself. And on top of it all, he was being asked to do something he wasn’t very good at: be a traditional back-to-the-basket center.

But in a process that can only be explained as an evolution – both in his skills and in the way the Trail Blazers’ viewed him – Leonard today looks to be the most important development in this Blazers season.

No longer pigeon-holed as a center, Leonard on Saturday started at power forward in place of an ill LaMarcus Aldridge, and was part of the equation that helped the Blazers beat Brooklyn 97-87 at the Moda Center.

Leonard had seven points, a career-high 12 rebounds and didn’t turn the ball over in 30 minutes. In the process, the threat of his outside shooting drew Kevin Garnett away from the basket, allowing Damian Lillard to slash through the Nets’ defense for 28 points and 10 assists. His ability to space the court also played Robin Lopez get a string of easy baskets.

And all the while, there wasn’t even a hint of that young fawn that looked so awkward and confused during his first two seasons, which led to Leonard being probably the most ridiculed and ripped-on player on the Blazers.”

Read it here: http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2014/11/the_evolution_of_meyers_leonard_and_the_trail_blaz.html

– How a disastrous Utah trip assisted the Cleveland Cavaliers in believing in LeBron James (from Chris Haynes, cleveland.com):

” The Cavaliers were warned ahead of time. He constantly told them what the outcome would look like if certain actions were repeated.

They failed to take heed, and in Utah on Nov. 5, they were hit with a mighty Gordon Hayward step-back blow that made entire team feel sick. But it was an eye-opener.

Ever since training camp, LeBron James has been telling his teammates to trust the pass, share the ball, and to keep the ball moving.

In that 102-100 loss to Utah, the Cavaliers only distributed six assists as a team. It boldly confirmed that James’ message wasn’t sticking and they couldn’t blame anyone but themselves.

After four games of inconsistent play, the Cavaliers finally came to the realization that maybe James knows what he’s talking about.

“It kind of clicked to everyone after that game that what he’s saying is golden,” the Cavs’ Tristan Thompson said. “He’s not telling us something that doesn’t work. He has been on successful teams and he knows what it takes, so we had to roll with him because that’s our leader.””

Read it here: http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2014/11/how_a_disastrous_utah_trip_ass.html

– Despite Missing Pieces, Orlando Magic Have A Good Offense (from Michael Pina, BBall Breakdown):

Read and view it here: http://bballbreakdown.com/2014/11/14/despite-missing-pieces-orlando-magic-have-a-good-offense/

– Despite aging stars, Spurs are hanging tough (from Broderick Turner, LATimes):

” Coach Gregg Popovich understands that the San Antonio Spurs might be lacking a bit of energy and focus this season as they deal with the defense of their NBA title and the grind of another 82-game season.

It was different last season, when the Spurs were seeking redemption after a Game 7 defeat to the Miami Heat in the 2013 NBA Finals. And it worked, as the beat the Heat in five games in June to win the championship.

But after a 2-3 start this season, the Spurs seemed to be going through a malaise, with injuries taking their toll, and the age of their stars being a factor.

“I don’t let that worry me because I know it’s true,” Popovich said last recently. “And some guys might still be enjoying the championship today. And I think that’s totally reasonable, totally logical because they’re human beings. So to try to fight that is kind of a waste of time. It’ll take care of itself as we move along.”

Read it here: http://www.latimes.com/sports/nba/la-sp-nba-spurs-20141116-story.html

– How Dirk Nowitzki knows Mavericks have right team around him (from Eddie Sefko, dallasnews.com):

Read it here: http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/dallas-mavericks/headlines/20141114-sefko-how-dirk-nowitzki-knows-mavericks-have-right-team-around-him.ece

– Thunder: Adverse experience should be beneficial for Scott Brooks and the Thunder (from Anthony Slater, newsok.com):

Read it here: http://newsok.com/okc-thunder-adverse-experience-should-be-beneficial-for-scott-brooks-and-the-thunder/article/5367325

More player updates:

– Jimmy Butler:  http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/bulls/post/_/id/20724/jimmy-butler-rising-with-career-high-night

– Greg Smith: http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/11/15/6291827/mavericks-notes-smith-will-be.html

– Mike Conley: http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nba/sacramento-kings/article3958655.html

– Harrison Barnes: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2269101-harrison-barnes-beginning-to-thrive-back-in-starting-role-for-warriors

– Rajon Rondo:  http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2267692-rajon-rondos-rebounding-key-to-what-makes-him-unique

– Kyle Anderson: http://www.basketballinsiders.com/nba-saturday-kyle-anderson-feels-fortunate-to-be-a-spur/

– Marreese Speights: http://www.warriorsworld.net/2014/11/16/a-revived-marreese-speights-giving-additional-life-to-warriors/

Today’s Top NBA Stories

– Raptors coach content with Valanciuanas’ progress (from Mike Ganter, Toronto Sun):

“He’s a young kid and his curse is two years ago when he got here everybody said he was the second coming,” Casey said. “Everybody was expecting that sort of impact. As a staff, all we expect is he’s going to grow at the right time, at the right pace and (eventually) he’ll get there. That’s why I am happy he is ours, but we can’t rush the process, especially with big guys, because it takes longer. He doesn’t need to hang his head. He doesn’t need to lose confidence in those situations. But everybody is waiting for him or wanting him to be more than what he is ready to be right now. He’s right where we need him to be.””

Read it here: http://www.torontosun.com/2014/11/14/raptors-coach-content-with-big-vs-progress

– Film Room: Setting Screens For Luol Deng and Chris Bosh (from Wes Goldberg, allucanheat.com):

” (Miami’s) half-court offense involves plenty of off-ball screens that helps lead to open looks. Miami ranks fifth in the NBA in assist chances per game, per NBA.com. A lot of what Miami does starts on the elbow, ranking third in the NBA in elbow touches per game according to NBA.com, with Bosh getting the lion’s share.

In this film room study, both plays start on the elbow and involve off-ball screens to free up the ball handler. Both plays come from Miami’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks Friday night. Dwyane Wade didn’t play because of an annoyed hamstring, so the Heat relied on more set plays than they typically do without Wade’s shot creation to pull the wagon.”

Read and view it here: http://allucanheat.com/2014/11/15/film-room-setting-screens-luol-deng-chris-bosh/

– Andre Drummond offensive experiment abandoned as Detroit Pistons center plays freely in victory (from David Mayo, MLive.com):

” The Andre Drummond experiment as offensive post hub may not be over for good, just tabled for now, but the Detroit Pistons center and his head coach have concluded that they were forcing something that wasn’t there and should take a new tack.

Between Wednesday, when Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said it would be a “major mistake” to reduce Drummond’s offensive load, and Friday, when the two agreed to do just that, there was a philosophical reversal.”

Read it here: http://www.mlive.com/pistons/index.ssf/2014/11/andre_drummond_offensive_exper.html

– The Cleveland Cavaliers need to play faster on offense and improve on defense (from Terry Pluto, cleveland.com):

read it here: http://www.cleveland.com/pluto/index.ssf/2014/11/terrys_talkin_about_the_clevel_26.html

– Big 3 D: how the Celtics defended Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Kevin Love (from wjsy, celticsblog.com):

Read and view it here: http://www.celticsblog.com/2014/11/15/7224687/big-3-d-how-the-celtics-defended-kyrie-irving-lebron-james-and-kevin

– Kevin Love Keeping Defenders on His Hip (from Will Gibson, waitngfornextyear.com):

Read and view it here: http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/11/kevin-love-nba-analysis-video-cavs/

– Brett Brown trying to keep 76ers ‘positive’ through all the losses (from Jenny Dial Creech, Houston Chronicle):

Read it here: http://blog.chron.com/ultimaterockets/2014/11/brett-brown-trying-to-keep-76ers-positive-through-all-the-losses/#27967101=0

– The Offensive Improvements Of Brandon Knight (from Matthew Way, BBall Breakdown):

” During the 2013 offseason, the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons swapped point guards named Brandon. The Pistons received Brandon Jennings from the Bucks, signed and traded with a three year, $24 million contract, and sending Brandon Knight the other way, the Bucks also receiving Khris Middleton and Slava Kravtsov in the process. Knight, a Pistons lottery pick in 2012, had struggled in his first two years, and some, such as Kevin Pelton, were questioning whether Brandon Knight was a legitimate starting point guard.

Now in his second year with the Bucks, Brandon Knight is proving that he is indeed that.

Last year, Knight showed positive improvement in nearly every important category. This year, he has gone much further than that and made the leap from fringe starter to hugely productive point guard. In the first eight games of this season, and for the fourth consecutive season, Knight has improved in all of his shooting efficiency, assist rate, free throw rate and rebound percentage. The big question now is, is this improvement real and sustainable, or is Knight soon due to regress? To answer this question, we must break down the reasons for his success.”

Read and view it here: http://bballbreakdown.com/2014/11/13/the-offensive-improvements-of-brandon-knight/

More player updates:

– Joe Harris:  http://www.cleveland.com/cavs/index.ssf/2014/11/kyrie_irving_helps_ignite_anot.html  and  http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/2014/11/nba-news-rumors-joe-harris-cavs/

– Kris Humphries: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wizards-insider/wp/2014/11/14/kris-humphries-providing-physicality-wizards-were-lacking/

– Trey Burke: http://www.slcdunk.com/research-statistics-analytics/2014/11/11/7197511/utah-jazz-trey-burke-is-going-to-be-absolutely-fine

– Allen Crabbe: http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2014/11/trail_blazers_allen_cool_breeze_crabbe_seamlessly.html

Today’s Top NBA Stories

– Quin Snyder leaves lasting impression on ex-Jazz players in Atlanta (from Jody Genessy, deseretnews.com):

” While player development of young players is a well-known forte of Snyder’s — and is one reason why the Jazz are so happy to have him on board with their youth movement — his ability to help Korver improve as a thirtysomething was a good example of how he can also teach old dogs new tricks.

“A lot of his stuff is just brand new and it’s fresh and it’s exciting,” said Korver, who’s eager to see what changes he makes to the Jazz offense. “And it’s fun to play. It makes you want to work harder.”

Read it here: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865615493/Korver-uses-play-taught-by-Jazz-coach-to-defeat-Utah.html

– Andre Drummond Under Construction in Detroit (from Zach Lowe, grantland.com):

Read and view it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/andre-drummond-detroit-pistons/

– Coach Steve Kerr’s Style Is Molded by Many Mentors (from Andrew Keh, NYTimes):

Read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/14/sports/basketball/warriors-coach-steve-kerrs-style-is-molded-by-many-mentors.html

– How good are the Toronto Raptors? (from Mike Prada, SBNation):

” The East’s feel-good story of last year is off to an even better start this season. But can Toronto really challenge for an Eastern Conference crown?”

Read and view it here: http://www.sbnation.com/2014/11/13/7204487/toronto-raptors-breakdown-analysis-nba-eastern-conference

Clippers’ perimeter defense an issue that is not going away (from Kurt Helin, NBC Sports):

” It’s been a hot topic around Southern California and the league: What is going on with the 4-3 Clippers? They haven’t looked like contenders, and they haven’t looked like the dangerous team they were at the end of the playoffs last year.

Critics can talk about execution down the stretch, and the Clippers certainly lacked that in their loss to the Spurs Monday. They can talk about the team playing flat and without energy, and that is certainly true for long stretches. They can talk about poor offensive execution, and the Clippers are down 5.4 points per 100 possessions on offense from their league high last season. They can talk about Blake Griffin taking too many jumpers, although on Monday he made a point of getting back inside. All of that is true.

But none of that is the Clippers’ biggest problem.

The most concerning issue is their perimeter defense — and there’s no easy fix for this leak.”

Read it here: http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/11/14/clippers-perimeter-defense-an-issue-that-is-not-going-away/

– Discussing Andrew Wiggins’ development with David Thorpe (from Zach Harper, awolfamongwolves.com):

” I’ve known David for a few years, and he’s worked with dozens of NBA and international players, including Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer. He and I sat down to discuss Andrew Wiggins’ potential and the process of developing such an exciting prospect. His answers were incredible and he offered up great insight. I decided to post the full Q&A here, since I could only use so much of what he said in my piece on CBSSports.  ”

Read it here: http://www.awolfamongwolves.com/2014/11/discussing-andrew-wiggins-development-with-david-thorpe/#more-2897

and more on Wiggins here: – Andrew Wiggins: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/24805437/developing-a-star-wolves-facilitating-andrew-wiggins-greatness

– Everyone stays ready on deep Bucks bench (from Andrew Gruman, Fox Sports Wisconsin):

The reserves of the Milwaukee Bucks have adopted a saying that’s become more of a mindset early on this season.

“As long as you stay ready, you won’t have to get ready.”

Through eight games, the Bucks lead the NBA in bench scoring at 46.4 points per game and have relied on their reserves for more minutes per game than any other team in the league.

Milwaukee’s bench has a mix of young talent and veterans who have started previously in the NBA. But more importantly, they are all buying in to the way first-year Bucks coach Jason Kidd utilizes his second unit.”

Read it here: http://www.foxsports.com/wisconsin/story/everyone-stays-ready-on-deep-bucks-bench-of-young-players-veterans-111414

– Breaking Down the Celtics Pick and Roll Defensive Struggles (from Redsarmy.com):

Read and view it here:  http://redsarmy.com/2014/11/14/breaking-down-the-celtics-pick-and-roll-defensive-struggles/

– Tom Thibodeau, Creator of Elite Point Guards (from honkasalom, hoopchalk.com):

” The Bulls have never had players to replace what Rose does: someone who can beat you off the dribble, penetrate, and kick it to an open shooter. The kind of player you really need if you want to create good looks possession after possession. There’s a limit on what you can do and the efficiency you can manufacture with Joakim Noah in the high post, no matter how cool it is.

The Bulls have had to rely on some less than stellar talent to hold down the fort in Rose’s absence. Players such as Nate Robinson, Kirk Hinrich, John Lucas, D.J. Augustin and C.J. Watson have had to carry a big offensive load.

Now some of those names are bigger than others, but what they have in common is that they all had some type of career resurgence, bounce-back year, or otherwise outperformed expectations while they were with the Bulls. Some to a miraculous degree.”

Read and view it here: http://hoopchalk.com/2014/11/04/tom-thibodeau-creator-of-elite-point-guards/

– Bucks Floppy Play for Khris Middleton (from Andrew Ford, hoopchalk.com):

” The Milwaukee Bucks offense has struggled in the early going this season (29th in offensive rating), but one play that head coach Jason Kidd has implemented with great success in his first season is floppy for Khris Middleton. On opening night against the Charlotte Hornets, floppy was called for Middleton six times, leading to a bucket each time. Since that night, the Bucks have run floppy for Middleton much less frequently, but it remains a solid option for a sputtering offense.”

Read and view it here: http://hoopchalk.com/2014/11/14/bucks-floppy-play-for-khris-middleton/

– Toronto Raptors and Their Odd Starting Unit (from Ben Dowsett, BBall Breakdown):

read and view it here: http://bballbreakdown.com/2014/11/12/line-up-love-toronto-raptors-and-their-odd-starting-unit/

– Too Early for Many NBA Players to be Traded (from Eric Pincus, Basketball Insiders):

” Players who were signed over the summer cannot be dealt until December 15, unless they received at least a 20 percent raise (and their team was over the cap upon signing), which creates a trade restriction until January 15.  Additionally, players signed after September 15 cannot be dealt until 90 days from their contract date — and those claimed off waivers must wait until 30 days into the season to be traded.

Recently traded players cannot be re-dealt in a package (via aggregation of salary) with other players on their new roster for 60 days, if their team is over the cap.

Some players have no-trade clauses in their contracts, either explicitly or implicitly.  Veterans like Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Brooklyn Nets forward/center Kevin Garnett have the former.  Players re-signed by their teams on one-year deals (even if there’s a second on a team or player option) can also block trades, like Miami HEAT guard Dwyane Wade and Detroit Pistons forward Greg Monroe.

Veterans whose contracts were recently extended cannot be traded for six months, like Cleveland Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao.  Those claimed off amnesty waivers, specifically Los Angeles Lakers forward Carlos Boozer, cannot be traded until July 2015.”

Check out the list of players with trade restrictions here: http://www.basketballinsiders.com/too-early-for-many-nba-players-to-be-traded/

More player updates:

– Reggie Jackson: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/reggie-jackson-embracing-the-task-of-saving-the-thunder-s-season-202546189.html

T.J. Warren: http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/11/13/4318673_suns-coach-says-former-nc-state.html

– Marc Gasol: http://www.nba.com/2014/news/features/sekou_smith/11/14/kia-race-to-the-mvp-week-2-column-marc-gasol-impressing-lamarcus-aldridge-joins-mix/

– Jusuf Nurkic: http://www.nba.com/2014/news/features/scott_howard_cooper/11/14/ranking-rookies-by-position/

– Lance Thomas: http://newsok.com/article/5366586

Today’s Top NBA Stories

– Zoned out: how OKC’s 2-3 defense stifled the Celtics (from wjsy, celticsblog.com):

” Anthony Morrow’s 22 points in the 2nd half beat the Celtics last night.  The defensive effort in the final 24 minutes that turned Boston’s defense into a “sieve” and allowed the Thunder to shoot 62% with only three turnovers beat the Celtics last night.  And yes, Oklahoma City’s 2-3 zone defense beat the Celtics last night.

What’s disappointing is that we saw this coming.  After Saturday’s win in Chicago, the team had three days to prepare for Scott Brooks‘ zone.  The Thunder were coming off three-games-in-four-nights and the second of a back-to-back and with so many starters injured and OKC needing something to conserve energy, Boston should have expected a heavy dose of the 2-3.  And yet, they were rattled.”

Read and view it here: http://www.celticsblog.com/2014/11/13/7212339/zoned-out-how-the-thunder-zone-defense-beat-the-celtics

– Pacers searching for a way during a painful, lost start (from Ian Thomsen, nba.com):

” Injuries, upheaval force one-time contender to dig deep for help”

Read it here: http://www.nba.com/2014/news/features/ian_thomsen/11/12/the-replacements-indiana-pacers-carry-on-ian-thomsen/index.html

– Down by 19, Phoenix Suns roar past Brooklyn Nets (from Paul Coro, azcentral.com):

” They have white jerseys instead of white horses and chest-pounding in lieu of armor, but Suns reserve guards Isaiah Thomas and Gerald Green keep coming to the rescue.

One or the other has led the Suns in scoring for six of eight games. The Suns would not have pulled out Wednesday night’s 112-104 win against Brooklyn at US Airways Center without a massive defensive turnaround in the second half, but Green and Thomas bought the defense time to show up.

After Green and Thomas combined for 31 fourth-quarter points in Sunday’s win against Golden State, the bench backcourt pair combined for 49 points Wednesday night to take a Suns homestand from 0-2 to 2-2 with one game to go Friday against Charlotte.

Green and Thomas have outscored the opposing teams by 17 (53-36) in the fourth quarters of this week’s wins.

Read it here: http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2014/11/13/phoenix-suns-roar-past-brooklyn-nets/18954039/

– Houston Rockets’ Backup Plan Working out Just Fine (from Grant Hughes, Bleacher Report):

‘ The Houston Rockets just keep on rolling, solidifying their contender cred and vindicating the value of a sound contingency plan all at once.

” Harden and Howard are the givens; what’s been particularly impressive about Houston’s 7-1 start is the way the team’s less-heralded role players have fit so neatly into the picture.

“It’s becoming old hat, but there’s just no way to ignore how Morey’s Rockets engineered this remarkable roster as a backup plan. After missing out on Chris Bosh in free agency and losing Chandler Parsons to the Dallas Mavericks (not to mention jettisoning Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin), Houston adjusted on the fly.

Trevor Ariza came aboard, and all he’s done is play terrific defense and bury threes at a 48 percent clip. To say he’s replaced Parsons is an understatement; he’s been better than the former Rockets small forward.”

Read it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2266015-houston-rockets-backup-plan-working-out-just-fine

Toss in Papanikolaou, undrafted rookie Tarik Black (who had 10 points against Minnesota) and veteran sniper Jason Terry, and you’ve got another trio of shrewd pickups who’ve all contributed this year. And credit the Rockets for trusting in the development of Beverley and Jones, both of whom were playing well before going down with injuries.”

Read it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2266015-houston-rockets-backup-plan-working-out-just-fine

– What Do We See in Rajon Rondo? (from Kirk Goldsberry, grantland.com):

” Rondo’s value is difficult to quantify, in part because he doesn’t fit into our established taxonomy of NBA superstars. He amplifies the goodness around him, but he can’t create it. When we question Rondo’s value, we are actually talking about the value of a pass-first point guard in today’s NBA. The league’s most valuable assets are almost all dominant scorers — everything else they provide is gravy. But Rondo inverts that. He provides assists, defense, rebounds, and only occasional scoring prowess. He’s at his best when he is playmaking for his teammates, but his All-Star years all involved a Hall of Fame supporting cast. The hard part is determining his value when paired with less talented colleagues.”

read and view it here: http://grantland.com/the-triangle/rajon-rondo-boston-celtics-trade-free-agent/

More player updates:

– Serge Ibaka: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2265305-why-serge-ibaka-is-the-player-to-turn-oklahoma-city-thunders-season-around   and   http://www.welcometoloudcity.com/2014/11/12/7210483/serge-ibaka-three-pointer-improvement-offense

– Jason Thomspon: http://cowbellkingdom.com/jason-thompson-struggles-to-find-an-offensive-role/

– Tyreke Evans: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2266001-tyreke-evans-finally-finding-his-game-behind-budding-superstar-anthony-davis

– Kirk HInrich: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2265671-the-curious-case-of-kirk-hinrich-unsung-role-player-keeps-plugging-with-bulls-

– DeAndre Jordan: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2265581-los-angeles-clippers-need-deandre-jordan-to-make-one-more-leap-this-season

– Ryan Anderson: http://www.nola.com/pelicans/index.ssf/2014/11/pelicans_ryan_anderson_finding.html

– Aaron Brooks: http://www.blogabull.com/2014/11/12/7204983/appreciating-aaron-brooks-unsustainably-awesome-start